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Remote Control Your PC via text message

Discussion in 'Software' started by karan1337, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

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    Hello people,

    It's been a while since i last visited the forums. Anyway, We (Me and Nitesh Narayan Lal) as a project have developed this software named Mobremote which allows u to execute commands on your computer sent via a text message from your cellphone.

    This is a free software, so i thought it would be better for everyone to know about it (especially members of CertForums :D).

    Visit:

    Mobremote | Your Cellphone is now your Computer's Remote

    for more details and to download the software.

    I hope this helps.

    Note: People residing in UK or other parts of the world (except India, US & Canada), can browse to TxtWeb Emulator from their internet enabled phone and send their message.

    People in India, US & Canada can send their text message directly to the appropriate number mentioned on our website.
     
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    WIP: Bachelors:Computer Science
  2. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi,

    Just as a general question, what did you see as a need or missing area that this software should fill. I guess what I'm trying to say is what can I do with this software on my mobile that I cannot do with the likes of teamviewer/citrix receiver and any number of vnc utilities that exist on mobile phones these days?
     
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    WIP: Nothing
  3. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

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    As a developer, i think i have an answer to your question. It is true that u have thousands of remote control/viewer applications now available, however does everyone own a good cellphone to support them?

    Secondly, for India, US & Canada, we wanted to stay independent of any 3rd party application, or u can say "the need of an internet connection on your cellphone". We wanted to eliminate the internet connectivity requirement on the mobile side and for at least these 3 countries, we have been able to do so.

    However, the sms service that is used to accomplish our task is limited to these 3 countries only. So we also provide an alternative via the link i mentioned above for internet enabled phones.

    In a developing country like India, we have millions of people using cellphones as well as computers, but the means to connect to client computers in a efficient manner does not quite appear in the picture.

    Thirdly, u maybe required to pay for the bandwidth consumption when u use remote control applications on your cellphone to perform tasks on your machine. By shifting the communication interface to text messages, we tend to bring down the overall cost involved. Please note that the sms service as well as our software is FREE of charge. Also, in many countries, we have quite a lot of cheap message plans available which allow u to send over 100 text messages a day.

    Keeping all these in mind and seeing no such implementation available yet for our daily use, we created Mobremote.
     
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  4. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I think the question merits more investigation to be honest. Specifically: what would I want to execute on my machine without being able to physically see the output?

    The use of things like RDP/VNC/etc tools makes sense. You might want to locate a file on your machine and email it to you (such as the important meeting file you forgot). Or you might want to install it on a family member's machine to enable remote assistance.

    But being able to operate a command on my machine without any feedback seems... well, to put it bluntly, useless. If I were to run a command line executable, then I am likely to want to see the output of the command.

    About the only use I could see of it, would be to enable you to selectively decide when to open your PC up for a subsequent remote connection. So you might use it to fire up VNC, ready for you to connect in.

    Even for all that, however, I can see the potential danger in this. Your service forwards on the text to a gmail account (why only gmail anyway, why cant it be any account? Surely the user can just enter the smtp details on the account). The potential risk of someone determining the correct "validation" sequences required to effectively format my entire machine?

    I just dont see the need for something like this. It would be interesting to see some figures on uptake, and the types of commands that are being run. Perhaps its just me missing the point or something.
     
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  5. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Oh I see I guess as I've no idea about the economy in that part of the world but I would probably suggest for the UK at least if you have a need to remote control your pc from your phone then your more than likely going to have a reasonably modern phone. But maybe there is more call for this sort of thing in other parts of the world. Whatever I hope that its very successful for you.
     
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    WIP: Nothing
  6. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

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    The most commonly used commands e.g. lock, log off, sleep, hibernate, restart, shutdown etc according to me do not require any output.

    You can do all these too. We've only released version 1 of our software 14 days back and the feedback process is on our mind since the past 5 months. The implementation part is tricky and it takes time to get it up and running. We're on it!

    We're currently working on developing application support via Mobremote, so not only VNC, u can virtually control any running application via a text message.


    Why gmail? In version 1, we currently support fetching commands from gmail only. However, we will use your feedback to analyze the need of users and support more web based mail services. FYI, its not a difficult task to fetch commands via email securely as we do from gmail. Since we used Google AppEngine for sms handling, to start off, initially we provided support for gmail users only.


    Ah, i apologize, but i have to bluntly disagree on this point. First of all, we DO NOT provide so much power to the remote user via a sms that one can wreck havoc on the machine. These are general purpose everyday commands.
    Secondly, we are implementing security as various levels, so any 3rd person cannot just hack into your gmail account, or even spoof one, and try to send commands at his will without the user knowing it.

    We've implemented a security key function within Mobremote that only the user sending the command is aware of. Also, we verify user details BEFORE executing anything. Thirdly, the emails sent to the person's gmail account are from a specific ID that belongs to Mobremote itself which is securely done via Google AppEngine.

    While the end user machine is fetching commands, it uses IMAP with SSL to access a user's email. So its safe enough on that side.
    Further if anyone is bound to extract details of the user, they just cant simply barge in as we've implemented encryption process on the client machine too in order to store his/her details.
     
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  7. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Again, I derive back to my point: why? Why would anyone want to use those commands remotely from their machine?


    I can appreciate that V1 isnt going to be comprehensive I suppose. It's good to know that further support would follow.

    I appreciate that you are taking precautions, but you simply cannot guarantee that such things will never happen. Companies with much (much) bigger budgets than you have available have their products circumnavigated all the time, and have to continuously patch them to close up issues. iOS is jailbroken roughly a week after being released (and Apple stringently attempt to prevent such actions). Windows releases patches every other week to close up security breaches that could result in someone taking control of a user's machine. Even Adobe (who don't manufacture Operating Systems) occassionally have to patch up issues that could lead to someone gaining control of your machine.

    If you believe that your application is unassailable, then you are just being naive. I appreciate that you are taking it seriously, and thats good. But it is possible, and that was my concern. And would be my concern for considering whether I would install it onto my machine or not.


    Its an interesting concept, sure. And another example of the interconnectivity of our devices. I'm just not seeing any practical benefit to having it set up personally. It feels a bit like a solution looking for a problem to solve.

    Then again, this app seems to do similar to you, so perhaps there is a requirement for such applications.

    Several years back, one of the tv channels in the UK ran a program about building a "house of the future", using all manner of existing tech to make it more environmentally friendly, and cool, etc. One of the features they had was a central server that allowed a number of cool things to be activated remotely: such as turning on your oven or running a bath via text. Now those were cool. Imagine leaving work and firing off a text to have your oven up to temperature when you arrived.

    It could also control the AC - so you could save electricity by only turning it on when you left work, but ensure that the temperature was good by the time you got home.
     
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    WIP: None at present
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    When I was at sky they had remote record which was cool, so it makes sense for PVR's or Media PC's.

    I'm turning into a bit of a Luddite so not my thing, neither is running the bath or turning the oven on, get stuck in traffic and either your house burns down or floods...

    Personally I think you'd be better off joining an existing open source project where you can learn off senior devs, but its good to see some initiative.

    I think most of these mobile apps tend to be stuff that ties into existing services, like checking airline flight times, buying shares or placing bets, the apps are developed as PR campaigns for bigger companies.

    Otherwise I'd have thought putty and ssh style stuff is going to be more useful to most people.

    Goodluck ! :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
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  9. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

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    This is equivalent to asking, "Why do u need remote control in the first place". I think the answer is obvious- You are physically absent and by locking or logging off etc etc, you tend to at least temporarily protect your data.



    Yes, i agree and there is no 100% secure application yet, but as college undergraduates and with an intent to develop something on our own and to make it available to the general public was a big task. We're trying to improve on almost every aspect of our software.

    Yes, as the link u pasted above, we thoroughly searched for existing applications and when we were sure that we are implementing it in a cost effective, easy and "almost" secure manner, we went ahead and did it. Of course, no product is perfect, and we appreciate other similar software that are available today.


    I think what you are referring here is the concept of HOME NETWORKS. They are implemented only in some places (at least in our country).

    I appreciate your guidelines and we'll improve upon our stuff.

    Thanks.
     
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    WIP: Bachelors:Computer Science
  10. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

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    Thanks. I appreciate your advice and we'll try to do our best to make it even better in the coming future.
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, MCTS, Brainbench: XP and Vista [Master]
    WIP: Bachelors:Computer Science
  11. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    To add a bit of balance to this a lot of the time I might nip out for a meeting or to the shops or similar thinking I will only be 5-10 minutes and leave the PC on, sometimes it ends up being that I am out for 4 hours and just from an energy saving point it would be good if I could turn the PC off with a simple command.

    Having said that any mobile telnet client would let me force shut from command prompt...

    Still, if i wasn't the type of person who knew how to do things like that (I think we all take for granted that we are IT-centric sometimes) being able to turn it off whilst out would be good.
     
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  12. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

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    Yes, Exactly!
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, MCTS, Brainbench: XP and Vista [Master]
    WIP: Bachelors:Computer Science

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